Playing seven games in less than 24 hours as hosts of the annual SBCC Halloween Tournament this past weekend, the Vaquero women’s water polo team won every one of its contests, beginning with a huge 10-4 win over West Valley on Friday.
On Saturday, the Vaqueros won five more games, defeating the UCSB Club A team 14-6, Santa Barbara Masters 14-13, LA Valley 10-6, Cerritos 14-8 and UCSB Club B 12-4.
SBCC is now 25-5 overall and 5-0 in WSC play.
SBCC 10, West Valley 4
Against a very talented West Valley team that had won 27 of its last 29 games – including last year’s 6-5 CCCAA State Championship game against SBCC – the Vaqueros broke out of a 4-4 halftime tie thanks to a huge second half. Goalkeeper Ava Donleavy had six second half saves as SBCC shutout the Vikings over the final two periods.
Three different Vaqueros finished with three goals. Bella Straley scored the first two goals of the second half to put SBCC up 6-4 and secure a hat trick for the second straight game. Emily Lopez put one away and Jenna Olson scored her third with two seconds left in the third to give the home side a commanding 8-4 lead. Claire Daland added another two goals in the fourth.
The win was SBCC’s first over West Valley since 2019, ending a run of five straight defeats against the Vikings.
SBCC 14, UCSB Club A 6
The UCSB Club team was one of two teams to defeat the Vaqueros in last year’s Halloween Invitational, but that wouldn’t be the case on Saturday. SBCC jumped out to a 4-1 lead through one and doubled that advantage by going up 8-2 before the half.
Behind a balanced scoring effort that saw six Vaqueros score multiple goals, Santa Barbara would go up by as many as 10 goals in the fourth quarter. Eden Tal led the way with her 11th hat trick of the year.
SBCC 14, Santa Barbara Masters 13
It would be another big test for the Vaqueros against the Santa Barbara Masters, a team consisting of former NCAA players. It was a back-and-forth affair throughout, although SBCC would find itself down by three goals in both the first and third quarters.
The Vaqueros would finally bring themselves level with a fiery 3-0 start to the fourth quarter, when two straight goals by Daland were followed by an equalizer from Olson. Tal gave them their first lead of the game, and Olson scored her fifth goal of the game to put SBCC ahead 13-12 with just 2:29 left on the clock.
Straley put in a huge goal to put the Vaqueros up 14-12 with under a minute left to help seal the victory. Donleavy earned her third straight at goalkeeper after posting nine second half saves, good for her third-highest total of the year.
SBCC 10, LA Valley 6
Another solid defensive effort put the Vaqueros on top of LA Valley 10-6 in their first meeting of 2022. Natalie Mancinelli led the team with three goals and Kara Hughes added two of her own.
Ella Prado went for a team-high three assists and McKay had a big eight saves in four quarters defending the cage.
SBCC 14, Cerritos 8
Career-high performances from Bella Straley (5) and Chloe McKay (14 saves) set the tone in SBCC’s 14-8 afternoon win over Cerritos. It was the first time McKay has had double-digit saves this season, while Straley poured in five for the second time.
The Vaqueros didn’t take the lead until late in the first half, when they began a game-changing 8-0 run that extended early into the fourth quarter.
Nine Vaqueros found the back of the net and 10 tallied at least one assist in what was another extremely balanced offensive attack. Tal finished with two goals, Olson had a team-high five steals and Straley finished with three drawn exclusions.
SBCC 12, UCSB Club B 4 (exhibition)
The final game of the weekend pitted SBCC against the UCSB Club B team. The Vaqueros held their opponent to under five goals for the eighth time this season, led by another 10-save performance from McKay, six steals by Prado and five more plus a field block from Nichols. Hughes scored a team-leading four goals to lead the offense.
Following an exhausting and hugely successful weekend, the Vaqueros will now prepare for next weekend’s WSC Tournament hosted by Cuesta College, beginning on Friday, Nov. 4.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.